Introducing: The Safe and Sound Project

My Mind is Free, rehearsal

The background to our playwriting workshop is all too relevant to what’s happening all over the world, with the suffering of refugees bringing it home to us every day.

Playwrights Sarah Hehir and Sam Hall devised ‘Safe + Sound’ when working together earlier this year on The id Project – a playwriting project for young women in Medway.  It became clear during this project – where the group of young women aged from 14-18 wrote a play which covered areas such as grooming, sexual health and bullying – that a really good way to engage young people with topical issues was to use creative writing and drama.

Both Sarah and Sam had written topical plays. In addition to existing theatre enthusiasts,  they wanted to reach individuals who might be at risk of the issues the plays tackle: Sarah’s play, Child Z, deals with child sexual exploitation and was inspired by the Rochdale grooming scandal; Sam’s play, My Mind is Free, deals with another issue at the forefront of the news, human trafficking.  They knew it was important that these plays were brought before a Medway audience, to start raising awareness of both of the issues in an area of high risk.

They applied for funding for ‘Safe + Sound’ from the Kent Commissioner’s Fund and were delighted to receive the funding to be able to bring the plays to Chatham, linked to the Rochester Literature Festival.  Child Z was performed to a sold-out audience at The Brook Theatre, Chatham on 17 June 2015. My Mind is Free will be performed as the final event as part of the Rochester Literature Festival on 11 October. As part of the project they have also been running a number of creative writing workshops – the next free workshop is part of the festival on 10 October, 1-3pm at the Guildhall Museum.  Book your place here.

Introducing: Bookmark’d at Live’n’Local

Bookmark'd (1)

We’re pleased to host our Bookmark’d event again this year, albeit in a slightly different format to last year.

Taking place in Sun Pier House on Sunday, October 11, we have a selection of authors and publishers who can read and discuss their work with visitors in the intimacy of their own table space, located in between the cafe gallery and the main speakers gallery.

The cafe is open from 10am with free entry, and Bookmark’d will run until approximately 5.30pm.

Authors and publishers taking part are:

Urbane Publishing

Urbane Publications is a new and exciting independent publisher dedicated to publishing the books you want to read – hip, contemporary, groundbreaking  fiction and fascinating non-fiction designed to entertain, excite, and engage.


Wordsmithery is an independent literary arts organisation and micro-publisher run by Barry and Sam Fentiman-Hall. They specialise in literature events and projects and began micro-publishing in 2013, with a creative writing anthology – City without a head. They have since published plays and another anthology. Watch this

Medway Mermaids

Medway Mermaids Writing Group for Women will be featuring their anthology, Mermaid Tails. Short Stories, Memoir, Poetry and Flash fiction fill this 244 page volume with a beautiful cover from an original painting, Chatham Intra by local artist Holly Aird.  Members on the book stall will be happy to give you details of the group. Local published authors Lin Tidy, Judith Northwood-Boorman and Susan Pope, all Medway Mermaids, will also be showing some of their own publications on the day.

Paul Breen

Paul Breen is an Irish author and university lecturer based in south east London. He writes regularly for blogs and newspapers, and his first work of fiction entitled The Charlton Men was published by Thames River Press in May 2014. This book is available through Amazon and selected bookstores.

David John Griffin

David John Griffin lives in a small town by the Thames in Kent, UK with his wife Susan, and two terriers called Bullseye & Jimbo. As well as a writer of magical realism/gothic/slipstream novels, he is a graphic designer, creator of iDevice apps, and an occasional electronic music composer. Website:

WANTED! For Live’n’Local #RLF2015


With just three weeks to go, the final phase of this year’s festival is kicking in. Roughly translated, that means WE NEED YOU!

Whether you’re feeling generous or want a chance to perform, WE WANT YOU!

We could use a few more performers for Cafe Crawl – musician, singer, poet, storyteller – do get in touch as it’s a lovely event to cut your performing teeth on. Our cafe owners are extremely supportive and the vibe last year was wonderful and nurturing, especially for the new-to-Rochester performers.

For the festival as a whole, volunteers would be most welcome to help marshal and act as contact points for our visitors in Rochester High Street and Sun Pier House. Social Media Ambassadors would also be hugely appreciated to get the word out there in the lead up to the weekend.

As you know, the festival has no funding for anything – we do it purely because we love it and want to contribute to the wonderfully diverse creative community that thrives in Medway.

However, it would be nice to raise some funds so we can at least contribute a little something towards the expenses incurred by our performers who are giving their time for free.

We’re running a raffle and while we have a few nice things, there aren’t many. We’d therefore be grateful for donations of anything, be it books, booze, or just pretty things that just sit there looking pretty.

If you can help out with any of the above, please either call Jaye on 07904 643770 or email

Thank you!

Artist call out for Watts the Story?

Watts the Story

The Rochester Literature Festival is delighted to have been awarded Small Experiment Funding by Ideas Test, to run a project entitled Watts The Story? with the residents of the Richard Watts Almshouses in Rochester.

We’re looking to engage a craft artist/maker for the duration of Watts the Story? which will take place at the main residence in Maidstone Road, Rochester.

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